The common law recognized three types of concurrent ownership that have continuing relevance:
Tenants in common share an undivided interest as co-owners. Each tenant in common has a distinct share that belongs to him. Each can use it to the same extent as if he owned it individually, although neither can take unilateral action to defeat other tenants in common's rights.
Upon death of one of the co-owners, the interest in the property does not pass to the other co-owners but to the person named in the will of the deceased, who will then become a tenant-in-common with the surviving co-owners.
Joint tenancy is similar to a tenancy in common in that each co-owner holds a separate and undivided right to possession, but joint tenant also have a right of survivorship. The death of one tenant will result in ownership of the land by the surviving joint tenants, passing outside probate.
Interest must be acquired by both tenants at the same time.
The interests held by the co-owners must arise out of the same instrument.
Both tenants must have the same interest in the property.
Both must have the same type of interest, and the interest must run for the same duration.
Both tenants must have the right to possess the whole property.
States are split as to how a lien is handled. They are split between two theories:
Tenancy by the entirety does not exist in all states and is usually only the default form of ownership for married couples in regards to real estate.
Each co-tenant has four rights concerning the property:
Partition is when a cotenant asks the court to terminate the cotenancy and to divide the cotenancy property, either in kind (physical division of the property) or by sale (with division of the proceeds).
Some types of estates are held exclusively by spouses:
Community property is a type of estate some states have created that gives spouses concurrent ownership. Neither spouse can unilaterally convey his share to someone other than his spouse. Neither spouse has a right of survivorship in community property.
Most states have statues, under which property acquired during marriage is divided fairly at divorce.
Jure uxoris no longer exists. It gave a husband an estate jure uxoris in all of the land by his wife at the time of marriage.
Curtesy was a common law estate that gave a husband all of the land owned by his wife at any time during their marriage upon her death.